May 1, 2024

By Greg Wehner and Jon Street


House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., is calling for the removal of Columbia University President Dr. Nemat “Minouche” Shafik, after a mob of anti-Israel agitators took over an academic building early Tuesday morning.

In a letter sent on Tuesday to David Greenwald and Clair Shipman, both co-chairs of the Trustees of Columbia University, Stefanik called the “chaos that has engulfed” the campus for weeks, reaching new levels early that morning when Hamilton Hall was “stormed, defaced and taken over,” preventable.

The mob held workers hostage, provided demands to the university and barricaded the building, and as of the letter, it was still occupied.

“These actions, as well as the illegal encampment and violent riots, go far beyond any right to free speech protected under the First Amendment,” Stefanik said. “This violence is a direct result of the appeasement policies President Minouche Shafik has used to address antisemitism on campus.

“President Shafik has allowed campus to be taken by mob rule, and she must immediately be removed, so this occupation can be met with swift and overwhelming response to retake campus, restore order, and protect Jewish students.”

Stefanik accused the university of allowing antisemitism and disorder to spread on campus for “far too long,” and failed to enforce the university president’s deadlines for the encampment to clear.

She also accused the school of preventing the New York City Police Department (NYPD) from entering campus and removing the encampment.

“Under President Shafik’s failed leadership, the rule of law at Columbia does not exist and consequences have gone without enforcement,” Stefanik wrote. “Just last night, a student who was supposedly banned from campus after calling for the killing of Jews reportedly led the takeover of Hamilton Hall. Had any consequences been enforced against this antisemitic encampment that has been operating for weeks, these events could’ve been prevented.

“This is a dereliction of duty. President Shafik has bent over backwards to appease antisemitic radicals and agitators who have sown chaos,” she added. “By enabling this to happen, President Shafik is first and foremost violating the rights of Jewish students and faculty, but also creating an environment that is unsafe for all on campus.”

Because of her actions, Stefanik urged the university trustees to remove Shafik from her position and secure the safety of students and staff “before another building on campus is allowed to fall.”

The lawmaker has been all but silent when it comes to the anti-Israel protests at Columbia University.

Last week, Stefanik sent a letter to top members of the Biden administration, demanding federal intervention to protect Jewish students.

In the letter, she described the protesters as an “unsanctioned mob of students and agitators permitted to continue to target Jewish students” and cited antisemitic incidents that have occurred as a result of their activity.

“Consequences are needed for those who are calling for terrorism and violent attacks,” she wrote. Stefanik cited the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that anyone who endorses terrorism can become ineligible for American residency, and noted that protesters are “brazenly endorsing Hamas and other terrorist organizations.”

“By allowing this support for terror to continue, this wicked ideology is able to spread,” Stefanik argued. “I demand that you enforce existing law to revoke the visas and deport students here on visas who are suspended for their antisemitic actions.”

She also called for the Department of Education to hold Columbia accountable by revoking any federal funding that the Ivy League school receives.